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On the other, I will highlight how the system of ecclesiastical censorship impacted on the circulation of these translations over the span of two centuries. In support for my thesis, I will rely on documents preserved in the archive of the Congregatio pro doctrina fidei, the former Congregation of the Index.

Through an analysis of these documents I will give a complete picture of the inquisitorial policies adopted against selected translations of Paradise Lost, filling a lacuna in previous critical contributions that could not benefit from the study of such sources.

The printed version of the Decretum is at fol. It must be noted that the Congregation of the Index never explicitly prohibited works written in English, as shown in the case of Milton. Poema inglese del Sig. Milton tradotto in nostra lingua al quale si premettano alcune osservazioni sopra il libro del Sig.


In this article, I consider the impression examined by the Congregation of the Index during the trial. Mariottini col testo inglese a rincontro Rome: De Romanis, — All the cuts and interpolations are clearly indicated by Rolli, usually through the presence of asterisks or bold lines in the margins of the page or in the text. They are few in number and pertain mainly to two passages also purged in all the other translations considered here.

In the first place, the translator decided that he would not mention the Trinity and indulgences, as we read in a letter sent by Giuseppe Riva, Ambassador of the Duke of Modena at the English court, to Ludovico Antonio Muratori in Rolli [. Riva thus informed Muratori: Rolli [. Addison Aggiunte alcune osservazioni critiche Paris, Verona: Tumermani, Edizione critica a cura di Laura Alcini Rome: Aracne, , p.

See Alcini, p. No, non basta per ben tradurre tali opere spiegarne il senso in altra lingua. According to the documents preserved in the archives of the former Congregation of the Index, Il paradiso perduto was reported internally by a member of the consis- tory.

See also Santovetti, p. In the event that the book was considered not to be dangerous, the denouncement was dismissed. If the work was condemned, the Pope could absolve the book, call for a second trial to be held if major doubts arose regarding any doctrinal infringement, or simply confirm the verdict of the cardinals.

Kenrick could not study the materials preserved in the ACDF and his main thesis is that the Osservazioni with which Rolli introduces his translation was the actual censored part of the volume. The very same theory had been formulated in the nineteenth century by Franz H.

A second element which made Kenrick justify the theory of a censorship of Il paradiso perduto based on its introduction was the name of Scipione Maffei, to whom Rolli dedicated his Osservazioni. The investigative and inquisitorial process was based on the Index librorum prohibitorum, published by Pope Clement VIII, and the attached provision De prohibitione librorum He highlights the condemnable passage: Milton, Paradise Lost, 2.

Rolli, Paradiso perduto, 2. See also Dorris, pp. Bottari then concludes that such a representation of the creation minimizes divine intervention since God is only seen to order the pre—existing, colliding, atomic particles.

Rolli, Paradiso perduto, 5. Milton seems to suggest that order is a consequence of disorder and confusion; and so does Rolli: Milton, Paradise Lost, 3. Rolli, Paradiso perduto, 3. In particular the consultor underlines the impossibility of heavenly creatures eating and transforming food into intellectual substance.

A good Catholic, Bottari states, cannot accept such a representation of heavenly creatures because the Angel thus addressed Tobias : 31 ACDF, Protocolli —34, fol. Tertullian wrote two treatises against the heresy of Hermogenes Adversus Hermogenem and De censu animae adversum Hermogenem , who affirmed that the world was created by God using pre—existing matter. Hermogenes held the opinion that matter was eternal, and therefore equal with God, thus proposing the existence of two deities.

Neither they ascribe the existence of soul to the action of God the Creator; instead they believe that angels create the souls from fire and air.

Nec animam Deo tribuunt creatori, sed creatores esse animarum angelos volunt de igni et spiritu. Malum autem asserunt esse aliquando a Deo, aliquando a materia [.

Bottari reasserted that such a portrayal of holy creatures went against the regulations imposed by the Fifth Lateran Council: However, to affirm that angels are material and corporeal is against the Faith according to the decision and decree of the General Lateran Council.

Rolli, Paradiso perduto, 4. ACDF, Protocolli —34, fol. In the manuscript, this passage is highlighted with two lines of black ink. Bottari wanted to emphasize the authority of the Scriptures against the heretical ideas expressed by Rolli and Milton in the poem. The Congregation of the Index affixed a copy of the Decretum to churches in Rome and also sent copies to Bishops, Papal Nuncios, and Catholic governments.

The Decretum was sealed by the Papal coat of arms top of the page, centred and by two pictures of St Paul at the top, on the left hand side and St Peter to the right , with their distinctive symbols, the sword and the keys. Reference to these symbols was a reminder to readers that beyond prohibition of books there was the apostolic dogma. Below was a short introduction stating that the Pope conferred to the Congregation of the Index the duty of condemning dangerous books.

The document was certified and sealed by signatures of the Prefect and the Secretary of the Congregation of the Index and carried the date of public posting. The Italian poet also enjoyed remarkable fame as a librettist, became Poet in Residence at the Royal Academy of Music in , and was a founder of the Opera of the Nobility in The latter, in particular, is the case of one translation.

L—LI, and Santovetti, pp. This is the most striking modification ever made to the text of Paradise Lost by an Italian translator, an expurgation that was also unacceptable for Rolli, who dismissed it in one of his annotations.

However, they continued to emphasize the stylistic splendour of the poem. After the Council of Trent , the Tenth Regulation of the Index stated that a book should receive an imprimatur from the Magister sacri palatii, the highest Vati- can authority in regards to theological matters, before being published. The bull, Sollicita ac provida, uniformly regulated and definitively settled the whole censoring method of the Holy Office and of the Congregation of Index.

The Pope cited as his motive for publishing this constitution the many unjust complaints against the prohibition of books as well as against the Index. First and foremost, in Sollicita ac provida, Benedict XIV introduced the principle whereby book censorship must be based on an accurate examination of the texts. De Bujanda, Index librorum prohibitorum — Geneva: Droz, , p.

Milton was obviously not included in the first Index of prohibited authors resulting from the Tridentine Council. AD It is the longest text in the manuscript, consisting of lines, and it is made up of two poems known as Genesis A and Genesis B respectively.

Genesis, Exodus, Daniel, and Christ and Satan. Therefore, he decided to solve the problem interpolating Genesis B into Genesis A, translating the embed- ded poem from an Old Saxon original. The moralising and didactic aim is evident in the poem and in the other texts forming the codex, as they invite the reader to avoid evil and to shun devilish temptations.

In particular, the Old English Genesis urges the reader to avoid false prophets, as they are misleading and treacherous; the punishment for disobedience will be eternal suffering and damnation. Genesis A reports the Creation, the rebellion of the angels and their fall, and the cre- ation of Man as a consequence of their banishment from Heaven. Genesis B3 begins at l. In tone it is much more dramatic than Genesis A, in particular regarding the soliloquies of Satan and the dialogues between Adam and Eve.

As well known, Paradise Lost5 is an epic poem written by John Milton when he was already blind and is formed by 10, blank verses in the form of iambic pentameters. As a matter of fact, choosing the epic genre, Milton placed his poem in a well-established epic tradition, which explains several digressions referring to ancient history and classical mythology8 as well as allusions to passages of significant epic poems9.

Such a wealth of sources makes the comparison be- tween Paradise Lost and Genesis B more and more difficult and does not help in giving a clear answer to the question proposed in this study.

Doane, The Saxon Genesis: Milton, Paradiso perduto, R.

Frammento de canto iv. del Paradiso perduto

Sanesi ed. Danielson ed. See B. With them he blended notions derived, directly and indirectly, from rabbinic commentaries, apocryphal documents, Christian-Lat- in biblical epics, medieval legends and recent plays, poems and tracts on the same subject Through the words of the protagonists, a series of significant topics is dealt with, which express the personal ideas of John Milton.

As a political activist and Presbyterian Milton wrote several pamphlets against corruption within the Catholic Church and in particular within the Anglican one; some of these pamphlets even caused his imprisonment. The expression of such ideas both in his poems and in his prose led to his gradual estrangement from Presbyterianism, thus making him an advocate of the abolition of religious figures such as priests and bishops, and, subsequently, of the suppression of any kind of Church.

With Paradise Lost Milton aimed to show what the fall of the first parents had caused and its consequences for the world, both positive and negative. Moreover, as he states in ll.

Actually, despite describing God as a strict judge like the poet of Genesis B, Milton develops the felix culpa topic, according to which the banishment of the first parents from Eden should be understood not as a tragic and negative event, but as a positive opportunity for humankind13 as, in this way, God has given them the chance to redeem themselves through repentance and true faith, thus allowing the coming of the Redeemer Is it possible that Milton came into contact with the texts contained in the codex?

The issue is long-standing and extremely complex, and 11 Ibidem. Rumble, Junius manuscript, in Medieval England: An Encyclopedia, P. Szarmach — M.

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Tavormina — J. Rosenthal ed. Some of those scholars, such as Masson, deemed plausible that Milton may have come into contact with the texts before his blindness16; others, including Conybeare17 and Lever18, have speculated that Junius him- self might have talked to Milton, reporting the contents of the codex.

Masson him- self in his biography of Milton pointed out how Christopher Arnold, future professor of history at the University of Nuremberg, reported his meeting with the poet on 7 August Arnold stated that he had been admitted to the library of Selden, who was working for the Cottonian Library and had allowed him to consult some significant ancient man- uscripts.

He also confirms the personal relationship between Milton and Junius, also stating that the latter at that time was working on an Anglo-Saxon grammar and dictionary However, other scholars, such as Halleck for example, argue that it is not certain that Milton was aware of the existence of the Old English Genesis, for he was already blind three years before it was published by Junius In addition, Gollancz claims that the similarities between the Genesis poem and Paradise Lost are nothing but interesting coincidences Moreover, there is no evidence for the possibility that Milton had abilities in Old English; Disraeli, for example, concluded that Milton was not familiar with the language Tim- 16 D.

Conybeare, London , p. Benskin — B. Murdoch, The Literary Tradition of Genesis: Of the Old English Theolo- gians and their commentaries on the Books of Holy Scripture, the erudition of which I can attest, he seemed to me altogether to entertain [ Masson, The Life of John Milton, 4, pp. Gollancz ed. At that day, who did? On the contrary, Bolton26 proposes the comparison between selected passages from the Old English Genesis and Paradise Lost; the most noteworthy compares a passage relating to the construction of the Tower of Babel ll.

Wuelcker thus concludes that it is improbable that Milton could have read the Old English Genesis in the original language; however, he could not rule out that anyone could have read it on his behalf and reported its contents Consequently there is no concrete evidence for the possibility that Milton knew the texts of Junius 11, since there are no documents to corroborate or refute this possibility.

Nevertheless, the correspondences that will be examined in this paper support the likeli- hood of the influence of the Anglo-Saxon poem on Paradise Lost. In this regard, beyond the theories advanced by scholars so far, it is crucial to keep in mind that, as noted by Turner30, during the period in which Milton was active there were some Latin translations, albeit perhaps inaccurate and unsatisfactory, of the Old English Genesis.

Moreover, the so- 25 B. Timmer, ed.

Bolton, A further echo, pp. See H. This theory is shared by Bradley, who argues that the poet, in his History of Britain, used some versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as sources, but probably not in the original language. See A. Bradley ed. His interest in such languages and literatures thus offered a wealth of literary sources for his texts. For this reason, it seems reasonable to presume that among the many languages with which he was familiar Milton could also understand Old English and have access to Anglo-Saxon literature.

As a matter of fact, as noted above, his History of Britain testifies to his interest in the past of his nation and in the Anglo-Saxon period, as the use of Bede and of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as sources also demonstrates.

It seems therefore incorrect and im- proper to rule out a priori the possibility that Milton could know the Old English Genesis and that he could have drawn on, and have been influenced by it during the composition of Paradise Lost. Rewriting, reuse, and the problem of the sources In order to compare the two poems, it is essential to bear in mind the complex issue of their sources.

As mentioned above, at a first reading it is evident that the two texts share a series of topoi deriving from a common literary tradition. For example it is particularly evident in the physical descriptions of Hell, which in both texts occur after the defeated demons have been hurled into their new dwelling. In both poems the passage from Paradise to Hell is not just a physical movement but also emphasizes the altered relationship between God and Satan: Both poets describe the new abode of the devils as consisting of a deep and narrow ravine where absolute darkness reigns, symboliz- ing the punishment inflicted on the brightest of the angels.

In Genesis B Satan, who indeed desired a higher throne, is now forced to live in a place totally in contrast to its previous condition, dominated by darkness and featuring immensely long evenings, bitter cold, icy and sharp wind, a paradoxical place where obscurity coexists with the flames of eternal tor- ment, which also produce an acrid smoke ll.

Paradiso riconquistato

In Paradise Lost Hell is a gloomy place as well, where darkness is not only dim and obscure in a physical sense but also from an allegorical and psychological point of view. Regarding the sources of Genesis B, the plot of the poem differs from the Biblical ac- count in several aspects.

For example, the fact that Eve is not tempted by Satan himself but by an emissary because the devil is bound in Hell and cannot move, is very unconven- tional and, as noted by the scholar, probably derives from the Book of Enoch The scholar then observes that the presence of two antithetical trees in the Garden of Eden — the Tree of Life and that of Death — is not Biblical and could have been drawn from Ambrose and Alcuin.

Regarding the account of the temptation of the first parents, Robinson focuses on the mitigation of the sin of Adam and Eve. The scholar highlights interesting parallels in the temptation episode of the Latin Vita Adae et Evae, where the fiend transforms himself into an angel of light, as well as in the Greek Apocalypse of Moses, where Eve relates the story of their fall to her children and states that Satan appeared to her in the form of an angel The issue regarding the sources of Paradise Lost is, if possible, even more complex than in the case of Genesis B, for, as already noted above, Milton could access an extremely large number and variety of texts, that he assimilated and from which he took inspiration; hence the vibrant literary richness of his poem but also the difficulty in tracing the texts that have actually influenced him in his writing.

Each of the languages that Milton read produced sources for Paradise Lost. Ambrose, to name just one of the authors Robinson, A note on the sources of the Old Saxon Genesis, p. Campbell, Milton and the Languages of the Renaissance, p. Campbell, Milton and the Languages of the Renaissance, pp. No poet has ever exploited them more extensively and more deliberately than Milton From this brief introduction to the sources of the two poems it is thus evident that both Genesis B and Paradise Lost are two different rewritings of the same Biblical and apocry- phal episodes.

As a matter of fact, both poets, even separated by centuries, created two original texts of undoubted literary richness and complexity drawing on and reusing ex- isting — and sometimes shared — sources.

The character of Satan is part of this rewriting: This results in greater difficulty in discerning whether and to what extent Milton was actually influenced by Genesis B. However, the similarities between the two poems, which will be examined in this study, suggest that Milton was veritably influenced by Genesis B in writing his masterpiece. It is indeed very curious and interesting to notice how the two poems share the same differ- ences from the Biblical account and the same references to apocryphal sources in similar narrative contexts.

Since we are dealing with two rewritings of the same episodes, it seems incorrect to look for exact matches or for the occurrence of precise phrases in the two poems as evidence for the possible influence of the Anglo-Saxon poem on Paradise Lost.

It seems more appropriate to look for echoes of, and references to, the Anglo-Saxon poem, and to search cues, imagery, and ideas that Milton may have assimilated and then rewritten and reused in a new and original way. It is therefore necessary to reconsider the two poems on the whole, focusing not only on echoes, but also on passages in which both diverge from the Biblical account in order to determine whether they share interesting similarities.

For example, both poets repeat the story of the fall of the rebel angels twice: When the first parent asks who this en- emy is, the angel tells the story of the war caused by Satan and the fall of the rebel angels Another similarity regards the two different physical shapes of the tempter.

As already noted, the text of Genesis B follows an apocryphal tradition and the emissary chosen by Satan to tempt the first parents appears in the shape of an angel of light However, before the temptation he takes the shape of a snake by means of devilish craft In addition, in one of the illuminations that accompany the poem, the tempter appears as a serpent, while in some others he is depicted as an angel.

In Book IX, instead, Satan is described as the serpent of Biblical tradition as he appears to Eve, approaches her, and persuades her to eat the forbidden fruit For now, and since first break of dawne the Fiend, Meer Serpent in appearance, forth was come, And on his Quest, where likeliest he might finde The onely two of Mankinde, but in them The whole included Race, his purposd prey ll.

In addition, the fact that both poets somehow lighten the sin of Adam and Eve, albe- it in different ways, is particularly relevant. Given the similarities between Genesis B and Paradise Lost some of which have already been mentioned, others will be highlighted in the analysis of the characterization of Satan and given that Milton had the extraordinary ability of drawing on various sources, thus implementing a personal and original rewriting, it is plausible that he derived the felix culpa topic from Genesis B.

Consequently, it is possi- 49 See also A. Milton might have been struck by the unconventional treatment of the episode so that he lightened the sin of the first parents, but in a completely different way. Through the Original Sin God will allow the coming of Christ the Redeemer and thus the salvation of humankind, as the Archangel Michael foretells while consoling Adam Through a series of opposites the first man stresses the fact that from his deplorable sin much more good for humankind will derive: O goodness infinite, goodness immense!

That all this good of evil shall produce, And evil turn to good; more wonderful Then that which by creation first brought forth Light out of darkness! Different ways of representing Satan The choice of focusing this comparative analysis on Satan is due to the fact that he is the protagonist and the most complex figure in both poems. In Genesis B, however, Satan is not one among others but is the chief protagonist: He is a character qualified by a very complex narrative and psychological dynamic.

As the scholars have observed, his character is extremely con- tradictory and ambivalent in that he has a plurality of meanings: Satan is the most interesting character of Paradise Lost in that he is the most developed character, not only in terms of the rich literary style, but also in terms of characterisation.

As Carey puts it As a dissimulator, he displays imagination in ways that are unavailable to God or the other good characters. Unlike him, they do not depend on lies, so the constant imaginative effort by which Satan sustains himself is foreign to them. They remain, from the viewpoint of imagination, relatively undeveloped beings Even at a first reading of the poems despite both accounting for the fall of the rebel angels, their revenge, its fulfilment in the temptation of the first parents, and their expulsion from Paradise it soon becomes clear that the two poets have employed different strategies in the characterization of Satan.

In Genesis B he is treated as a static figure, in that he never changes his mind and keeps pursuing his evil goal without hesitation; he is coherent and linear, as he never evolves; he is a flat character, also considering the fact that he is described concisely and schematically. Molinari, La caduta degli angeli ribelli: Kaiter — C. Milton devotes a good portion of the first books of the poem to the description and characterization of Satan, who changes significantly from Book I to his final appearance in Book X.

As a matter of fact, at first he is described as an imposing titan and as a respect- ed and trusted leader, but throughout the poem he undergoes various metamorphoses, transforming gradually into a smaller and smaller creature for example, a cormorant and a toad , and in the temptation account he takes the shape of a serpent.

His darkness is both physical and psychological, but also allegorical, for obscurity implies distance from God as well as from his former great status.

Although he has deep scars on his face due to the battle against God, his facial expression still betrays his pride and his need for revenge Book I, ll. He oscillates between remorse and defiance. He confesses that his rebellion was com- pletely unjustifiable […], even Satan […] admits God was right. Milton gives Satan the status of the tragic hero, providing him with a vivid language characterized by a lively rhetoric, in contrast with God, whose vocabulary is rather dull, flat and devoid of metaphors However, Milton depicts him also as an anti-hero, given the fragility of his heroic vir- tues and their susceptibility to demonic perversion As Kaiter and Sandiuc put it Milton does not accept the standard interpretation of the heroic figure, he reinvents it.

He creates a character who is at once someone we tend to appreciate as heroic, and someone we want to see defeated.

He is the antagonist who drives the plot with his machinations, the great adversary who we are to loath for his rebellious nature and a character with a great vital force of his own, even if it lies in the direction of evil In using this device in Paradise Lost, Milton was aiming to make his story and his protagonist more dramatic and was following the example of Virgil, who did likewise in composing the Aeneid.Milton seems to suggest that order is a consequence of disorder and confusion; and so does Rolli: Milton, Paradise Lost, 3.

It is indeed very curious and interesting to notice how the two poems share the same differ- ences from the Biblical account and the same references to apocryphal sources in similar narrative contexts.

Piles of stately architecture, from King's College Chapel downward, tower all about, over narrow, tortuous, pebble-paved streets, bordered with diminutive, white-fronted, red-tiled dwellings, mere dolls' houses in comparison. The long line of zelanti Popes had come to an end; and it was thought that if the bosom of the actual incumbent could be scrutinized, no little complacency in Swedish victories over the Faith's defenders would be found. On the contrary, Bolton26 proposes the comparison between selected passages from the Old English Genesis and Paradise Lost; the most noteworthy compares a passage relating to the construction of the Tower of Babel ll.

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